Happy Halloween, Scooby Doo: Bang Bang Bang, The Dumbing Down Of Today’s Youth

Happy Halloween, Scooby Doo is an animated family mystery film directed by Maxwell Atoms. The plot sees the Gang’s Halloween become interrupted by evil mutant pumpkins. Can they solve the mystery and salvage the night.

This film is not a Scooby Doo film, there should not be explosions and battle scenes in a Scooby Doo film, maybe Atoms wanted to make a different animated film, but they gave him this instead. Either way it does not understand what Scooby Doo is at all and it shows at every turn.

The mindless action lacks all the plot and story of previous Scooby Doo films that gave us memorable character moments that last the test of time. I knew something was up when they put in Scarecrow (the Batman villain), in for no real reason at all. I know Scooby Doo (Frank Welker), has teamed up with Batman in the past but this just feels random and done for no purely for fan baiting. I also disliked immensely how the film felt the need to reference as many Justice League characters as they could- Warner Brother you really need to get better with this in film product placement.

Likewise, the pandering to Bill Nye is obvious as hell. He was mildly in the popular culture a few years ago, but because executives don’t understand what kids like and are always out of date, he is all over this film and it is painfully cringe whenever he is on-screen. It feels like one of those bad Simpson’s episode when they centre the story around a trendy celebrity for a slight boost in relevance.

Overall, a badly thought out film that doesn’t seem to understand what a Scooby Doo film is, what the kids want, or who is trendy in the year of 2020.


It is good background noise


It is not a Scooby Doo film

It is dumbed down

It tries to hard to be trendy

It relies wholly on a celebrity cameo that most of the kids watching won’t know

Why is Scarecrow in this?


Reviewed by Luke

Get Hard: What Is Your Mad Dog Face?

Get Hard is a comedy film directed by Etan Cohen. The plot follows James (Will Ferrell), an investment banker who is so rich he is almost untouchable, then one day he gets arrested for fraud. The industry giant is brought down, and his friends desert him. Faced with a long jail sentence he hires car wash attendant Darnell (Kevin Hart), to teach him how to survive prison; after James’ assumes based on Darnell’s race that he must have been to prison at some point in his life.

I must admit I am a new convert to Hart, but so far both of the comedy films I’ve seen him in have been very funny; this being the second. I think Hart’s pairing with Will Ferrell works well, they play off each other strongly and the race-based humour, which pokes fun at James’s inherent racism, feels both rewarding and also enlightening.

Though the comedy often skewed towards the low brow and the crude, I still found myself laughing. It was gross out, but not to the point of being off putting.

I thought though the story was predictable I liked where it went and thought that the film had the right amount of heart. I thought the friendship between James and Darnell felt not only real but earned.

Overall, a funny comedy film that never allowed my face to be without a smile.


It is funny

Hart and Ferrell are a strong paring

The friendship feels earned by the end

It has many memorable moments


It does go too low a few times and is quite predictable.


Reviewed by Luke

Robin Hood: Step Up 2 The Streets, How To Demystify And Ruin A Beloved Folk Character

Robin Hood is an action film directed by Otto Bathurst. The plot serves as a retelling of the classic tale, now imagining Robin (Taron Egerton), as a jaded crusader who has been betrayed by his country and stripped off his lands after he was falsely pronounced dead. Together with his dear friend Little John (Jamie Fox), he decides to take the fight to the powers at be, for the people.

You could be forgiven for thinking that this film and King Arthur Legend Of The Sword (review on site), are in the same universe they share a lot of similarities, including plot and colour pallet. Much like that film Robin Hood fails to establish itself in any meaningful way or decide what it wants to be, instead it cobbles bad ideas together leading to a hard to watch end project.

Egerton is trying his best here and he is a very believable action star, he carries the film in the physicality department, and you don’t doubt his Robin’s fighting abilities. However, he struggles in the dramatic, acting, part of the role. His character feels very two dimensional and is not very easy to warm too, yes he is a badass, and?

The wider supporting cast are forgettable, the only two that come close to leaving an impression is Foxx as Little John, though he is basically just a glorified sidekick, and Ben Mendelsohn as the infamous Sheriff of Nottingham. Much like Egerton Mendelsohn is good but this talents are widely wasted and used incorrectly.

Overall, this film fails as a franchise starter and as a Robin Hood film. The Russel Crowe epic is a much better telling of the same tale.





The new take doesn’t add anything

The side characters are boring and forgettable

It is very predicatable

The ending is pure sequel bait


Reviewed by Luke  

Ironclad: A Very American British War Film

Iron Clad is a British war film directed by Jonathan English. The plot sees a group of medieval swordsmen, some knights, some Templars, and some criminals, hold a fort against the mercenary army of King John (Paul Giamatti). Fighting desperately to uphold the Magna Carta, and to defeat a tyrant.

This is one of those films, very much like Iron Sky, that I have on my watchlist and like to put on when I feel the mood for pulpy violence or fantastical nonsense. Did it deliver on those fronts? Yes and no.

The violence I found to be bloody and brutal, which is what I was expecting and hoping for, but the camera kept cutting away in the heat of battle and it led to it feeling poorly shot, disjointed and oddly out of sequence. An example of what I am talking about is you would see something like a sword hit someone’s arm, then a cut to their eyes, then the arm would be hanging off. This to me screams of a film that was done on the cheap, which is not in and off itself a bad thing, but it is when it is this obvious.

The fantastical nonsense front was a bit better. I enjoyed the silliness of it all and how much of a blatant rip off of Magnificent Seven it is. I thought having Giamatti just talking with his normal accent and not even bother to do an English accent was a touch of genius, it pushed the film firmly into so bad it is good territory.

I am a big James Purefoy fan and I think he is trying his best here. He has a great amount of presence and he leaves an impact whenever he does something on screen, but his talents are wasted. His romance with Kate Mara’s character is also a little icky when you think of the age difference, but that’s just me.

Overall, it falls into so bad it is good territory and can be enjoyed for the sheer cheesiness of it, had the battles been shot better, it could have been genuinely good.


James Purefoy

The stakes and the tension

It is almost comical at times


The action is not well shot

It is highly derivative


So bad it is good for sure

Reviewed by Luke

The Turning: A Mockery Of The Ghost Story Horror Genre, Featuring A Prime Example Of Stunt Casting.

The Turning is a horror film directed by Floria Sigismondi. The plot sees young governess Kate (Mackenzie Davis), arrive at an old country house to begin teaching a young girl, however as she stays on things quickly become far more sinister.

So, this film clearly is trying to mimic the style of classic ghost story/ haunted house horror films of past generations, or more recently something like Del Toro’s Crimson Peak, which is a gothic romance. Where those films usually go for an understated approach, this film hit you in the face, with all the subtly of an explosion.

It fails at what it tries to do in an almost spectacular fashion, it does not have an atmosphere or creepiness, rather it has jump scares that it crams in every ten minutes, so you don’t get bored, which just feel cheap and jarring tonally.

This film feels that by being oppressive and unpleasant to watch that that makes it scary, or unsettling, it doesn’t. The film uses violence in a very vulgar way, often going to a tasteless extreme which makes Eli’s Roth’s torture porn look in good taste. We see the kid from Stranger Things stomp a fish to death, so the film can prove how edgy and dark it is and it just feels very needless. Likewise it uses rape, or the threat of it, as a plot device especially towards the later stages of the film where Davis’s character seem on the verge of being assaulted near constantly, again why? Using the threat of rape to build tension feels, icky, it feels cheap and you really get that sense as you watch it.

Finally, whoever is Finn Wolfhard’s agent should be fired as he was entirely wrong for this film. He did not play the unhinged twisted character well, instead he came off more a brooding spoiled little kid who is having a tantrum, he was in no way threatening throughout the film and every time the film went that way I rolled my eyes. Stunt casting if ever I saw it, tapping into to that sweet sweet Stranger Things crowd.

Overall, vulgar and needless if it wasn’t for Davis I would give this film a 0


Davis is trying, she is too good for this film.


Using rape as a plot device

Showing needless violence to prove how edgy and dark the film is

A badly miscast Finn Wolfhard

Some of the worst dialogue I have ever heard


Reviewed by Luke

Clueless: Austen Revisited

Clueless is a coming of age comedy film directed by Amy Heckerling, loosely based on the Jane Austin novel Emma. The plot sees teen socialite Cher (Alicia Silverstone), Queen of her high school, take the new girl Thai (Brittney Murphy), under her wing.

I have heard a lot of people talk about this film for a while, it has a real strong cult following, so I decided to check it out for myself. I was naturally comparing it to the other adaption of Emma, the more recent adaption from this very year.

I found this to be the better of the more recent American Emma adaptions, it had that lively spirit and wit that I feel the 2020 version was lacking.  I always enjoy when they modernise classic tales and give them a newer twist, like the Leo Romeo and Juliet film from a while back.

I thought that all of the characters felt warm and had a good amount of rootability, though Cher did nasty thing it never reached a point where I didn’t like her as a character, she never felt cold or mean spirited.

The one thing I would flag up is the icky main romance. They changed a lot of things from the classic story for this film so why they kept this in is beyond me. In the film Josh (Paul Rudd), is Cher’s stepbrother, to add to that he is in college (University for non-Americans) and Cher is in high school she is 16 years old, both of these factors make for a deeply troubling romance, that honestly shouldn’t happen.

Overall, a quirky fresh take on an old classic. The characters felt warm and the humour landed even if the odd nearly incestuous age inappropriate relationship didn’t.


A fresh take

The humour

Fun rootable characters


A few things were lost in translation

The main central romance was deeply troubling


Reviewed by Luke

Beirut: John Hamm Plays A Worse Version Of Don Draper

Beirut is a political thriller film directed by Brad Anderson. The plot sees an ex spook negotiator be brought back to Beirut after the death of his wife to save his friend who is being held hostage. Only a man with nothing left to lose can pull off a deal that no one wants to happen.

I think this film is quite generic, when you start watching a lot of these genre films you see patterns start to emerge and this one seem to feature all of the patterns under the sun. You will have seen it before. How many times have we seen the super spy who is great at what he does, brought close to breaking by the death of a loved one, only to have to seek redemption and prove himself again? That is basically the three acts of this film summed up without spoilers.

It doesn’t have anything new or interesting to say about the situation in the Middle East, it is just the same old same old.

John Hamm and Rosamund Pike are strong leads and bring a certain level of presence and prestige to the film, but they are stifled by a bad script. We barely get to see any range from either skilled performer, and both feel like they’re written to be cliches of other better characters they’ve played in the past.

Overall, deeply generic. Fine in a pinch okay to miss.


Hamm and Pike are trying

I enjoyed the ending, I thought it was smart


The script stifles them

It has nothing new to say

I feel like I’ve seen it before

It wasn’t hugely engaging


Reviewed by Luke

A United Kingdom: One Of Africa’s Greatest Romance’s

A United Kingdom is a British biographical romance drama film directed by Amma Asante. The plot follows the real-life story of Sir Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo), and Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike) Khama, a king to be who defied the world and married a common English women. Their love was met with hate and strife at damn near every turn, but they kept fighting.

I think this film is a triumph, it was sweet, compelling, and also infuriating and a bit sickening at times. Film’s like this highlight how far as a society we have come, but also how much further we have to go.

I found the romance between Oyelowo and Pike to be entirely believable, they had a strong chemistry that carried throughout the film. Both actors gave incredibly good performance with Oyelowo’s maybe taking the cake. The part when he is speaking to his people and trying to convince them why he has brought an English woman to be there Queen and he has tears rolling down his face is nothing short of powerful.

My one complaint of the film would be that it has pacing issues, as is often the case with biographical film, I understand that it has a lot of history to tell as it doesn’t want to leave anything out, but it feels a lot longer than 111 minutes.  

Overall, a strong film that you need to watch. The love on display is compelling and proves that if we are ever to overcome hate we must all embrace the love we have for each other.


Believable chemistry

David Oyelowo

Rosamund Pike

Powerful and effecting


It feels much longer than it actually is


Reviewed by Luke    

Patriots Day: A Sombre Moment In American History

Patriots Day is a true story based crime drama film directed by Peter Berg based on the Boston Marathon Bombing and the ensuing man hunt for the suspects.

I do enjoy a trashy Wahlberg action film, but I have to say I was unprepared for this. I went into this film expecting it to be very loud and to follow Mark Wahlberg’s Tommy Saunders as he beats up various groups of people trying to find out who did it. This is not that. It is a surprisingly sombre affair, wherein Marky Mark actually shows some strong drama chops and makes you feel something.

I am not going to lie to you as the film’s closing credits were rolling I had a fair few tears in my eyes.

I liked the fact that the film seemed to be respectful of the events that happened, it did not try and turn it into a bit of raar raar patriotism, it simply tried to stick to the events as they happened and showed the bravery of those on the ground; it seemed primarily interested in doing right by the victims and that I can respect.

It was interesting to see Alex Wolff playing a straight up evil monster here, as up until this point he hasn’t really branched out into that sort of performance before. I found him to be quite menacing.

Overall, I appreciate the way Berg and others chose to tell this story, it felt impactful and respectful and Wahlberg showed us all that he can act.


Mark Wahlberg

Handles the subject matter with respect

It was impactful

Alex Wolff


It does feel a little busy and like it is trying to cover too many people’s stories.


Reviewed by Luke     

Johnny English Strikes Again: Emma Thompson Is The Prime Minster We Never Knew We Needed

Johnny English Strikes Again is a British spy comedy film directed by David Kerr. The plot sees English (Rowan Atkinson), come out of retirement to save the world when all of M17’s current operatives become known to the public therefore rendering them inefficient as spies.

I will give this film some props for feeling more like a continuation of the first film rather than a retread of it, like the second film. I thought bringing back Bough (Ben Miller), was an inspired move as the two have great chemistry together.

The comedy here has the added dimension of having Johnny be at odds with the modern world and not understanding technology, which is funny briefly for the first ten minutes or so. However, once again I don’t find the rather obvious slapstick comedy funny and I find that it pushes the film to be more and more like Mr Bean.

I find the idea of an evil tech CEO as the baddie a touch predictable at this point, it has been done to death and this does nothing new with it. We need to move away from these sort of cliches.

I enjoyed seeing Emma Thompson as the Prime Minster and whenever she was on screen I found myself laughing and enjoying the film that bit more. She is definitely the highlight of the film.

Overall, a step forward after Reborn, but even still it is far too repetitive and clichéd, also the slapstick humour is getting actively worse film on film.


Bringing back Bough

Emma Thompson

Johnny Vs. Tech is mildly funny


The evil tech CEO is cliché

The slapstick is overused

It doesn’t justify its existence


Reviewed by Luke